Formally inaugurated on Sunday, Bal Gopal Multiple Disability School started functioning last month, thanks to joint efforts of the Bajwa village panchayat and a non-government organisation (NGO).
The centre provides remedial training and education to 53 differently-abled children (mostly mentally challenged) of workers living in Bajwa, Karodiya, Karachiya, Undera and Chhani villages.
"Early this year, I had a survey conducted in the village to find out children who were not attending schools. We came across 65 children who were not going to school as they battled various disabilities," Suresh Thakkar, the then sarpanch of Bajwa said. Subsequently, he contacted a few NGOs to do something for these children but did not receive a favouralbe response. In the meantime, an NGO surveyed Bajwa and some other villages for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan of the state education department.
"We found around 100 children who were not going to school and needed special attention. We approached Bajwa village panchayat to start the centre and they readily agreed to help," said Jayshree Chaudhary, founding president, Astitva Foundation.
Under an agreement, the panchayat gave four rooms to the NGO in the Primary School No 1 to use free of cost. The school authorities had surrendered the rooms to the panchayat as they were not used for lack of students. The centre charges each child Rs 50 per month "to ensure sustained interest from parents".